When we mark harvest may depend on where we live. Gathering in the corn or barley is a weather-dependent task. How we think about our harvest will differ according to our needs, our essential foods, the context in which we exist and place our reflections.
If you are still planning a Harvest Festival service of worship…
If you wish to reflect further on how we share the gifts of creation…
If you are looking to consider the impact of humanity on the world around us…
here are a few pointers:
The ArtServe website offers some good ideas for singing the harvest-related hymns included in Singing the Faith.
The Royal School of Church Music has produced an excellent resource, Bread of life: a festival service for young voices celebrating God’s physical and spiritual gift of food. As our review suggests, this is a flexible resource that can be adapted for all sorts of music groups and many different occasions.
The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) has produced its annual Harvest resource. This year, the worship materials focus on Mali in North West Africa. Here, a military coup took place in March 2012 with devastating humanitarian consequences. MRDF’s service includes an introduction to MRDF’s work in Mali, prayers, readings, full sermon notes and an opportunity for reflection. It also suggests other resources that you could use if you wish to make your service more interactive.
Christian Ecology Link (CEL) has compiled a helpful order of service and additional resources for harvest. CEL believes that “we are responsible for our impact on God’s creation as a whole”. The organisation exists to help its members “understand and relate these responsibilities to their faith”.
In addition, CEL has produced resources to be used in Creation Time (running from 1 September to the feast of St Francis on 4 October). Alternative downloadable Creation Time resources are available on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland website. In 2012, the chosen CTBI theme is: Sustainable energy in creation – Time for prayer and action.
Finally, though the Countryside Matters website has not been added to this year, its reflections on harvest are still worth exploring. For example, T.W. Brighton’s “Harvest Dreams”, which ends with the warning:
“An unwise choice can cause irreversible damage to God’s world and farmers everywhere.
In buying food – ‘Tread softly for you tread on farmers’ dreams!’”